chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
June 06, 2019

New ABA book shares a federal judge’s innermost thoughts while imposing sentences

CHICAGO, June 6, 2019 — Just published by the ABA,Crimes and Punishments: Entering the Mind of a Sentencing Judge” by Frederic Block, a long-time federal district court judge, allows readers a view of how a judge decides on an appropriate sentence and feels about putting a person in prison for an extended period of time.

Judge Block explores our criminal justice system’s important sentencing issues. He candidly shares his feelings and is reflective, often describing his concerns that his life experiences and subconscious thoughts could influence the sentences he determines.

Block also tells the stories of the trials of Peter Gotti (who succeeded his brother John as head of the Gambino crime family) and Pedro Espada Jr. (the former leader of the New York Senate), among others. He takes the reader through the crimes and sentencing proceedings and shares his thoughts about whether he made the right decisions.  

In his preface, Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a preeminent constitutional law scholar, calls the book “magnificent” and declares Block “a great storyteller.”

Block was appointed United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York in 1994. He received a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and an LLB degree from Cornell Law School. He has been described by Alan Ellis, a nationally recognized authority on sentencing and a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as a “legendary sentencing judge.” After 25 years on the bench, Block continues to maintain a full caseload. He also regularly sits by designation on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has authored over a dozen opinions. Judge Block recently authored the “reality-fiction” novel “Race to Judgment,” after having written his highly acclaimed memoir “Disrobed, An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge.”


Crimes and Punishments: Entering the Mind of a Sentencing Judge


ABA Publishing



Product Code:            





6 x 9, Paperback and eBook




800-285-2221 or

Editor’s note: Author interviews and review copies of this book are available by emailing Dean Pappas at [email protected]. If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Dean Pappas, ABA Book Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.